Montana Outdoors

August 12, 2007

Who would think…

When I was photographing the northeast end of the Chippy Creek fire Friday, as I looked to the southeast, this was what it looked like along the Little Bitterroot River.

Along the Little Bitterroot

While looking at it, who would think that the following scenes would be seen by simply turning around!

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire

I suspect this isn’t the first time that this old barn has been part of a wildfire scene.

Chippy Creek fire

Chippy Creek fire


  1. Beautiful, as always. Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by teaspoon — August 13, 2007 @ 7:12 am

  2. It’s the beauty of the West, teaspoon. But you knew that. Thanks for stopping by!


    Comment by montucky — August 13, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  3. First, I love that first shot – does anything say the big sky country of Montana like that shot? The barn I’m guessing has seen a wildfire like that before however, I bet ya it’s kind of new to the cattle. The last scene is really why I myself wonder about the allowing to burn theory. It’s a great theory until the fire gets out of control and people lose their homes or livelihood. (I know that these cattle are specifically safe because other than prairie grass they don’t have much to burn there.) That being said however, I struggle with these fabulous forest management theories; I understand that we are just a blink in the existence of humanity but I guess I’m more of a controlled burning fan. I think we let our forests go for so long (by never allowing any form of burning) that they are little more than a dry tinderbox sitting too close to the fireplace. Those are just my thoughts – which are probably just about worth a penny. 🙂

    That said, you got me going didn’t you? Hopefully you’ll take that as the highest form of praise. If your work was intended to make me think, make me rant, get me going we’ll you were very successful. Excellent! *smile* That is my friend, in my opinion, the definition of art.


    Comment by aullori — August 13, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  4. I’m assuming the moral to this entry is…”Don’t turn around”.


    Comment by Pinhole — August 13, 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  5. Lori,
    Yeah, I get going on that subject too. Over the years we’ve certainly gotten ourselves into a pickle with forest management (or forest stewardship). Seems to me we’re fighting two problems now and they’re both tough: (1) the build-up of fuels in the forests because of our suppression policies for many years and (2) the sheer number of homes that have been built into the edges of the forests. The two problems compound each other.

    In this part of the country there have been a lot of controlled burns over the last few years, but I haven’t really seen anything conclusive about their effectiveness. Conceptually, I really like the idea. One of the problems with it though is that there are some pretty big areas of dead trees due to pine beetle infestations and they don’t dare do a controlled burn in those areas because they just can’t “control” it, so they beg the question and wait until nature takes care of it herself, as happened near here two years ago. Personally I think that a more aggressive and widespread use of controlled burning is, at this point, the only way to get us out of the jam.


    Comment by montucky — August 13, 2007 @ 4:44 pm

  6. Pinhole,
    Right. Not until after it snows.


    Comment by montucky — August 13, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

  7. ….ahh darn I think you missed my point. (hint; it was in the conclusion) I live pretty much in the same kind of area that you do. So I know all the arguments. I get the brochures too. 🙂


    Comment by aullori — August 13, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  8. After talking with you about this when we were hiking, I finally got a chance to come look and your posts about the Chippy Creek Fire.

    It’s probably a trifle shallow of me to be noting this, in the midst of all the burning that was going on, but these in *particular* are AMAZING pictures. The first one of the fire and then the last one with the barn and *incredibly* gorgeous.

    It’s really fascinating reading your posts and seeing the pictures of the fire fighting. And seeing how little attention was given to the fire. Certainly, it’s not one that I remember hearing anything about.


    Comment by Sara — October 7, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  9. Sara,

    This fire did not get much if any national attention because there were several much more high profile fires going on at the same time. Those were in areas where they threatened very expensive homes and of course the politicians flocked to them and promised that “all possible effort would be put forth” on those fires.

    From what I can tell, the Chippy Creek fire was handled quite well over all. What really bothers me about it is the circumstances that started it have never been completely explained and it was never publicized that the extremely poor management of the Plumb Creek lands into which the fire proceeded immediately (in particular, the practice of just leaving logging slash laying around all over the ground) actually helped the fire to blow up so quickly and spread so rapidly at the onset.


    Comment by montucky — October 7, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  10. Who would think… .Thanks for nice post.I added to my twitter.


    Comment by noactive — January 11, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

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